French Onion Dip

published Feb 6, 2024
French Onion Dip Recipe

Make this iconic dip with jammy, slow-caramelized onions, tangy sour cream, and a few umami-boosting pantry ingredients.

Serves12 to 16

Makesabout 4 cups

Prep15 minutes

Cook50 minutes

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overhead shot of a hand dipping a potato chip into the french onion dip.
Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe ; Food Stylist: James Park

I am kind of famous amongst my friends for my French onion dip recipe. While I do love a simple, two-ingredient dip with sour cream and Lipton’s French onion soup powder — and make it often — my homemade version takes things to a whole other level. 

Here, caramelized onions deliver a dip that is both deeply savory and rich, which is something you just won’t get without putting in a little time. I also mix in my secret ingredient: fish sauce. It adds an extra layer of umami flavor and doesn’t taste fishy at all (you can substitute soy sauce or tamari if that just isn’t your vibe). With its deep, jammy onion flavor and creamy texture, my French onion dip is always worth the extra effort.  

Key Ingredients in French Onion Dip

  • Onions. Yellow onions will become rich, savory, and a little sweet after caramelizing. Slice them as thinly as possible before cooking to ensure the best dip texture.
  • Vinegar. I like sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar here, but white wine and apple cider vinegar will also work well and give some balanced acidity.
  • Fish sauce. It won’t taste fishy, but fish sauce will add a deliciously salty, umami flavor.
  • Worcestershire sauce. Adds more umami and that quintessential French onion vibe.
  • Sour cream. Creamy sour cream has a luxurious texture when mixed with the caramelized onions.
  • Chives. Thinly sliced chives add a pop of freshness and color as a garnish.
  • Accompaniments. Sturdy, ridged chips and vegetable crudité are the perfect dippers.

How to Make French Onion Dip

  • Slice the onions. Halve the onions, then thinly slice (ideally about 1/8-inch thick). You can do this by hand, but a mandoline or food processor with a slicing attachment will help ease the process.
  • Caramelize the onions. Starting the onions covered (with a generous amount of olive oil) allows the steam to give them a head-start on cooking down. You’ll want to adjust the heat as needed and stir the onions often to make sure they brown evenly and to prevent them from burning. 
  • Deglaze the pan. Add water at the end to loosen the fond — a rich layer of browned goodness on the bottom of the pan — and incorporate all that flavor back into the onions. Stir in a little vinegar, fish sauce, and Worcestershire.
  • Finish the dip. Once the onions cool slightly, combine with sour cream and chill so the flavors can meld. Sprinkle with chives just before serving with chips or crudité (or both!).

Helpful Swaps

While I generally follow this recipe to the letter, here are a few ways I’ve tweaked it with great success.

  • Swap out half of the sour cream for Greek yogurt for a lighter, tangier flavor.
  • Add a couple dashes of umeboshi vinegar at the end for a delightfully tart, briny note.
  • Swap half of the onions by weight for shallots.
  • Deglaze the pan with dry white wine instead of water.
  • Add fresh thyme to the onions while caramelizing (discard any stems before mixing with the dip).

More Uses for French Onion Dip

  • Use it as a spread on a sandwich, patty melt, or grilled cheese.
  • Spoon it into a baked potato or French onion dip mashed potatoes.
  • Warm the dip and use it as a sauce for chicken, Swedish meatballs, or pasta.
  • Use as a replacement for the sour cream, yogurt, or buttermilk in any biscuit and scone recipes.
  • Spread the dip on chicken or pork and let marinate for 2 hours before cooking.

French Onion Dip Recipe

Make this iconic dip with jammy, slow-caramelized onions, tangy sour cream, and a few umami-boosting pantry ingredients.

Prep time 15 minutes

Cook time 50 minutes

Makes about 4 cups

Serves 12 to 16

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 pounds

    large yellow onions (3 to 4)

  • 1/4 cup

    olive oil

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    kosher salt, plus more as needed

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed

  • 1/3 cup

    water

  • 1 tablespoon

    sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar

  • 1 tablespoon

    fish sauce or soy sauce

  • 1 tablespoon

    Worcestershire sauce

  • 1 teaspoon

    garlic powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    granulated sugar

  • 1 (16-ounce) container

    sour cream (2 cups)

  • 1 large bunch

    fresh chives

  • Ridged potato chips or crudité, for serving

Instructions

  1. Halve, peel, and thinly slice 2 1/2 pounds yellow onions from root to tip (about 8 cups). Heat 1/4 cup olive oil in a large, high-sided skillet or Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onions, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Stir well to combine. Cover and cook undisturbed for 5 minutes. Stir, cover again, and cook for 5 minutes.

  2. Uncover and continue to cook, stirring occasionally at first and then more frequently once the onions start to brown, until the onions are a rich caramel brown color, 30 to 40 minutes more. Reduce the heat as needed if the bottom of the pan is getting too dark. Make sure to scrape the bottom of the pot when stirring so any browned bits get mixed back into the onions and do not burn.

  3. Remove the pan from the heat. Add 1/3 cup water, scraping the bottom of the pan until almost all of the water has been absorbed. Add 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar, 1 tablespoon fish sauce or soy sauce, 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, and 1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar. Stir to combine. Let cool for 10 minutes.

  4. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl. Add 1 (16-ounce) container sour cream and stir to combine. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or preferably overnight. Taste and season with more kosher salt and black pepper as needed. Finely chop 1 large bunch fresh chives until you have about 2 tablespoons and sprinkle over the dip. Serve with ridged potato chips or crudité.

Recipe Notes

Make ahead: The dip can be made and refrigerated in an airtight container up to 2 days ahead. Garnish with chives just before serving.

Storage: Refrigerate leftover dip in an airtight container for up to 5 days.